Boet en Sus, a theatre production was postponed twice this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the cast is currently back at rehearsals.
It will be the first National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) production to premiere online, this move is also a way of the theatre embracing technology and change. The production will be streamed online as a recorded product for longevity purposes. Moreover, live streaming footage will be supported by English subtitles to accommodate international audiences and non-Afrikaans speakers.
The play is an Afrikaans multimedia theatre production, written and directed by award-winning singer and theatre-maker Lize Ehlers. It is executively produced by the NTN under its Premiere Production Programme, which caters for world-class professional theatre works for diverse audiences in Namibia.
This proudly Namibian theatre work focuses on the kallids’ (coloureds’) experience in present-day Namibia. Boet en Sus is part talk show, part drag show and involves critical dialogue, amusement and drag performances. As a work of theatre, it includes musical performances as well. The theatre production is about community, escapism, & expression. Its narrative and also explores the ups and downs of feeling somewhere in the ‘middle.’
Ehlers plays the lead role of Sus, an open-minded kallid woman who is an ally to the LGBTQ2+ community. The other cast members include the local and international award-winning actor Adriano Visagie in the co-lead role of Boet, Rodelio Lewis and Roberto Meneguzzo will portray the roles of drag queens Mavis and Gigi. The creative team is made up of Marchell Linus as the choreographer, Imms Nicolau as the musician, Martin Amushendje with supporting visual documentation, Miss Jey Arts as the makeup artist and costumes by Ingo Shanyenge.
Furthermore, Ehlers was inspired to write Boet en Sus by her kallid experiences and the experiences of family, friends and colleagues. She said that due to the related conversations in drag communities, she felt compelled to write Boet en Sus.
According to Ehlers, through this play, she wants to convey to Namibian audiences the importance of people of colour’s lives. “Black and brown lives matter kallid people are the embodiment of colonial experience,” she explained.
She further quoted Dr Lucy Edwards-Jauch, who said, “Kallids & drags have a lot in common but what is discussed throughout is our rights as humans.’’
Adriano Visagie has been preparing for his role as Boet by focusing on authentic characterisation, vocal training, understanding drag culture and dancing. “What I love about working on the production is that so much is relatable from my childhood and that of ‘Boet and Sus’. Boet en Sus is different as it’s not a conventional theatre play. The production is different, we get to dance and sing original music, thus the production has its own soundtracks and the focus is on representation. It’s truly a journey of learning, becoming and unlearning,” said Visagie.
“Boet en Sus will be the first online theatre production that will be performed due to the current pandemic, especially the manner in which we’ll stage it,” said the award-winning actor.
Currently, the premiere date is not set as the cast is in rehearsal stages and will start recording soon afterwards. Boet en Sus will be the closing production for NTN’s 2019/2020 season before the next theatre season kicks off. The production promises an unforgettable experience to close off the theatre season.